AB de Villiers (left) and Faf du Plessis added a record-breaking 206-run partnership for the third-wicket against Australia at Harare  © AFP
AB de Villiers (left) and Faf du Plessis added a record-breaking 206-run partnership for the third-wicket against Australia at Harare © AFP


Australia and South Africa played the second One-Day International (ODI) of the triangular series at the Harare Sports Club on Wednesday. Rajarshi Majumdar takes a look at some of the key moments of the match.

South Africa registered a massive victory over Australia by seven wickets in the second One-Day International (ODI) of the Zimbabwe Triangular Series 2014 on Wednesday. Let us go through some of the key moments of the match.

Finch-Hughes opening stand: Aaron Finch and Phil Hughes looked in great shape right from the very first over of the innings, scoring 10 runs off Dale Steyn’s bowling. Their intentions were quite clear that they would not allow Steyn and Morne Morkel to get into rhythm and managed to execute their plan to perfection. Their stand was worth 92 runs and the South African bowlers were all over the place.

Imran Tahir spell: Just when Hughes was looking to build on is his half-century, he got out to a loose delivery from Tahir, who should consider himself to be lucky enough that it was not bludgeoned through the covers. But what was important was that he dismissed Hughes and broke the opening partnership that was starting to look ominous. He also removed the in-form Mitchell Marsh as he trapped him in front of the wicket with his googly. He conceded a mere 45 runs in his 10 overs.

Finch and Bailey partnership: George Bailey and Finch steadied the Australian ship and put up a 114-run stand to put Australia in a strong position during the first innings. Finch and Bailey had nicely played out the middle overs where Steyn, Ryan McLaren and Tahir pulled things back for the Proteas. But they launched an attack immediately after taking the batting powerplay in the 31st over. Bailey took on the South African pacers and started hitting them out of the park until he got out to a Morkel delivery.

Aaron Finch’s 4th ODI century: Finch is in flying form of late, and he showed his consistency yet again on Wednesday against South Africa. Finch would be happy to make up for missing out on a century in the previous game against Zimbabwe by doing so against a tougher opposition.

Steve Smith’s cameo: Glenn Maxwell got out early today so his show was taken over by Steve Smith. Australia kept on losing wickets at regular intervals.  Someone had to up the tempo in the slog overs. Smith took up the responsibility to do the honours. He scored a rapid 31 from just 19 balls.

South Africa slip early: After Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock got off to a flying start. One would have expected them to carry on but both played a couple of needless shots to get themselves out.

De Villiers-Du Plessis show: After South Africa lost their openers early, it was Faf du Plessis and Ab de Villiers, who took the responsibility on their shoulders to guide their team over the line. They set many records during this partnership. Their 206-run is the highest 3rd-wicket partnership for South Africa against Australia in the ODIs, they went went past the Daryl Cullinan-Hansie Cronje partnership of 149 runs at Centurion in 1996. They also set the record of highest partnership at The Harare Sports Club, previous best was AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel (186 runs). Unfortunately, Du Plessis got out in their batting powerplay after scoring his maiden ODI hundred. De Villiers did not give even after he suffered a cramp in his left leg and carried on to bring up his 18th ODI hundred. A captain’s knock indeed from him, as he guided his side over the line.

Australia’s poor fielding efforts: When someone like de Villiers was batting in the 80′s, the Aussies gave him two lives in a span of two overs. Mitchell Johnson dropped a sitter of his own bowling and George Bailey dropped a dolly at cover point of Richardson’s bowling. They looked sloppy on the field right from the onset.

Proteas wrap it up in style: JP Duminy came out to bat after du Plessis got out. Some effortless batting performances from him, du Plessis and de Villiers finished the game much before the Australians had expected.

(Rajarshi Majumdar is a reporter at CricketCountry. He played cricket for all age levels under the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for over 12 years. Apart from cricket he is an avid follower of football, supports Manchester United and a foodie at heart.)